The Senate majority leader is making his move to try and prevent a shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is willing to have a vote on a funding bill that’s free of immigration riders and would run until Sept. 30.
McConnell said Tuesday that he is willing to have a vote on a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security free of controversial provisions unraveling President Barack Obama’s actions on immigration.
McConnell outlined a strategy that would entail one vote on funding DHS — whose money runs out after Friday — through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, and a separate vote on Friday that would block the sweeping moves on immigration that Obama issued last fall.
McConnell told reporters Tuesday that after two months of begging, he would finally agree to give Democrats a clean vote to fund DHS through the end of the fiscal year. The funding, based on an agreement between Democrat and Republican appropriators last year, would come with no strings attached.
Outside conservatives, who have been known to influence Boehner’s ability to get his conference to ‘yes’ have already said they are opposed to stand alone DHS funding bill. Senate Conservatives Fund tweeted Tuesday that “Senate GOP leaders surrender again … plan to fund Obama’s amnesty for the rest of the fiscal year.”
The influence, especially of a group like Heritage Action for America, which announced it will key vote a no on a clean DHS funding vote, could still derail any DHS deal. “As the Majority Leader said last year, the power of the purse is the ‘only tool’ Congress has to rein in executive overreach,” Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham said in a statement.
Despite the outcry from “conservative” groups like Heritage Action, this is a positive Republican strategy to fund DHS and have a separate vote on executive action. However, it is well known that these groups will never agree to any immigration bill, and thus, their opposition to this new plan by McConnell will irritate these groups as well Tea Party Leaders like Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions of Alabama who will most likely attack Republicans who vote for this bill.
But now Senate Republicans can have an open debate on whether “executive action” is “unconstitutional” and garner enough votes to block it on those merits. This new strategy will also give breathing room for Republicans while they await the ruling of executive action in the courts, and possibly SCOTUS.
But if Republicans fail to get 60 votes and the Senate in a separate vote to block “executive action,” and the Courts, the Fifth Circuit or SCOTUS, find executive action constitutional, then Republicans better have an alternative that will supersede this “action” with their own Republican immigration bill.
Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote! comments to firstname.lastname@example.org